Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baby, The Rain Must Fall

Today I was watching a program on the History Channel about the dust bowl of the 1930s. If you're unfamiliar with this horrendous event, here's a snippet of information from Wikipedia:
The Dust Bowl was an ecological and human disaster caused by misuse of land and years of sustained drought. Millions of acres of farmland became useless, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes; many of these families (often known as "Okies", since so many came from Oklahoma) traveled to California and other states, where they found economic conditions little better than those they had left. Owning no land, many traveled from farm to farm picking fruit and other crops at starvation wages. Author John Steinbeck later wrote The Grapes of Wrath, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Of Mice and Men about such people.
Near the end of the 2 hour-long program, attention was turned to modern-day Oklahoma (circa 2007) and some people's predictions that another dust bowl may be imminent due to factory farming techniques and years of drought.

To combat the meager amounts of rainfall, some conservation districts are employing a technology called cloud seeding. One of the most common methods of seeding clouds involves shooting silver iodide and dry ice into them from airplanes or via land-based rockets.

At the risk of sounding like a Taoist Luddite, this doesn't sound like a good idea to me at all! The means don't always justify the ends. Whenever humankind seeks to manipulate Mother Nature, she always seems to come back to bite us on the butt.

Mind you, I certainly don't blame her because our short-term desires never take all the necessary variables into account. We set out to accomplish one specific objective without realizing the long-term or interdependent effects of our actions.

The more viable solution would be to live in accord with nature, not try to alter it. It would make far more sense simply not to locate farms in areas prone to drought. It's like when people build their dream house on a floodplain and then wonder why their house is always being flooded.

Go figure!

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